Good day mates, time for another player assessment (add Australian accent here). If you haven’t figured it out, this time we are taking a look at Aussie native Grant Balfour. Balfour had a solid season for the Rays, despite missing a large portion of the season with a back injury suffered after wrestling pitching coach Jim Hickey (yes, he wrestled the pitching coach and got injured). Despite the brain fart moment wrestling, Balfour turned out to be one of the most reliable arms out of the bullpen.
Balfour finished the season with a 2-1 record. He had an ERA of 2.28, while striking out 56 batters and walking 17. Balfour pitched in only 55.1 innings (injury), in which he gave up 43 hits, 3 home runs, while keeping opponents batting averages to a low .216. Balfour was one of the most reliable arms for the Rays.
Balfour is a solid veteran pitcher. He has an average fastball, but mixes it with good location and off speed pitches to get hitters out. He is a very confident pitcher and is not afraid of any batter on the mound. Maddon relies on him heavily, but losing him to injury this season hurt the bullpen. Balfour is a middle reliever, but can pitch a few inning if called upon.
Balfour is a free agent and teams will be after him. I expect the Rays to move fairly fast to resign him because he is such a key member to the bullpen. The price for him will have to be right though, but expect the Aussie veteran to be a Ray next year and continue to add depth and reliable pitching to the bullpen. Final grade: B
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